Although some UF students may feel like the world is coming to an end as finals approach, a 24-ton replica of an Aztec calendar stone lying on the Dickinson Hall courtyard may confirm their fears.
Susan Milbrath, a curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History, published her interpretation of the original stone calendarâs meaning in the Mexicon journal in February. Sheâs researched the stone since 1995 and says it depicts the death of Huitzilopochtli the Aztec sun god, and the end of times.
âAztec priests attempted to predict catastrophic events,â Milbrath said. âThe stone depicts the end of the world coming from earthquakes and a solar eclipse.â
She said the original stone, now in Mexico City, was most likely used as a platform for human sacrifices to stop the world from ending. The replica has been at UF since the â70s.
Milbrath said the stone shows how sophisticated the Aztecs were at predicting events using astronomy. The Aztecs predicted apocalyptic earthquakes wouldnât happen until at least the 21st century.
âIt is the single-most important Aztec symbol surviving today,â she said.
Olivia Meadows, the co-vice president of the Undergraduate Florida Anthropology Student Association, said sheâs familiar with the stone from her coursework. She said the replica is beneficial for students to have on campus.
âYou can go to class and listen to your professor talk,â the 20-year-old UF anthropology and philosophy sophomore said, âbut, when you have a replica you can look at and appreciate. It drives home how important archaeology is for us.â
She said the stone is interesting because it shows similarities between cultures throughout the world.
âI think we all predict the end of the world, not just the Aztecs,â she said. âItâs evident in…